Warrimoo plant breeder donates his stock to the Rhododendron Society

For sale: Rhodo Gardens supervisor Dick Harris with committee member Julia Hanley and some of the azaleas that will be sold on February 17.
For sale: Rhodo Gardens supervisor Dick Harris with committee member Julia Hanley and some of the azaleas that will be sold on February 17.

Warrimoo’s Eric Jordan has been breeding plants all his life.

He was apprenticed in his teens by the well-known Hazelwood nursery, having caught the eye of Dr Hewitt of Bellingen, who practised as a horticulturalist between medical callings in the northern NSW town.

Mr Jordan has used his skills to breed his own azaleas, clivias, roses and the precious Black Jack photinia. Until recently, he sold them at his Traden Tubes nursery at Box Hill, near Rouse Hill.

But his little business has been gradually swamped so Mr Jordan finally bowed to the inevitable and sold his land to developers.

That left the question of what to do with the thousands of tube stock he had on hand.

He came up with the idea of donating them to help “colour the Mountains”, his son, Richard, said.

Huge numbers of his plants have been handed over to the Blackheath Rhododendron Society, which will be holding a street stall at Blackheath on Saturday, February 17.

All money raised will go towards the upkeep and improvements at the Rhodo Gardens in the town.

Richard Jordan said his father use kurume, satsuki and japonica azaleas in his breeding program.

“His primary focus in the azalea breeding has been longevity of flowering and colour.”

Many of the “Jordan Collection” plants have already been planted in the Rhododendron Gardens. They include some fabulous azaleas with contrasting edge colours.

Richard Jordan said people should realise the effort that his father put into breeding new varieties of plants.

“To create these varieties is not a five-second job – it has taken over 20 years of devotion,” he said.

“The prime aim of donating the azaleas to the society is to ensure that the varieties are not lost to future generations.”

The plants will be on sale on Saturday, February 17, from 9am-noon on Govetts Leap Road. Eric Jordan himself will be there so people can talk to the breeder.